Parly closes salary hike probe against ex-Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Former National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Former National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Published Apr 11, 2024


The powers and privileges committee has decided to close the investigation after the DA lodged a complaint against former National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The official opposition lodged the complaint with Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli after reports surfaced late last year that Mapisa-Nqakula approved a 70% salary increase for Secretary of Parliament Xolile George.

George, who was appointed in June 2022, had his salary increased from the advertised and approved maximum of R2.6 million to R4.4m.

It was increased by the presiding officers, including Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo, following a review of George’s remuneration package based on the recommendations of an expert assessment conducted by a consultancy firm.

However, the DA has maintained that there were a number of breaches of ethics, accountability, transparency requirements and misconduct by Mapisa-Nqakula.

On Wednesday, the committee heard that it had agreed in February to send a letter to Mapisa-Nqakula in connection with the DA’s complaint.

Briefing the committee, parliamentary legal adviser Andile Tetyana said the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act had a provision that the committee consider any matter referred to it regarding contempt of Parliament and misconduct by an MP.

Tetyana said the committee’s jurisdiction was limited to a serving MP.

He also said Mapisa-Nqakula resigned both as Speaker of the National Assembly and MP on April 3.

“The committee no longer has jurisdiction over her. This committee lacks the authority in law to haul her because she is no longer a member of the National Assembly,” Tetyana said.

DA deputy chief whip Annelie Lotriet said the legal opinion provided to the committee indicated that there were prima facie grounds for the committee to proceed with the matter.

Although Lotriet said she understood the issue of jurisdiction, she said Parliament took a decision on George’s appointment based on inaccurate and incomplete information.

Lotriet asked whether the committee or any other body could act upon the misleading of Parliament.

“We can’t just accept that the matter is moot. The mischief that was caused is still there and it has to be cured,” she said.

ANC MP Zola Mlenzana said: “We are now unable, in my view, to go any further.”

He said as soon as an MP stopped being an elected public representative, they could not go any further on the matter.

However, nobody could stop any other person from taking the matter to any other level outside the jurisdiction of the committee, Mlenzana said.

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude echoed the sentiments of Mlenzana, saying they could no longer deal with the matter because Mapisa-Nqakula had resigned.

“It is no longer in our hands. Ours is to close this matter and leave it there. It is no longer in our jurisdiction,” she said.

Cape Times